I don‘t think I will adding anything else to this challenge, so here is a round-up of the #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge. I finally turned to some books that had lingered much too long on my TBR already and discovered something new as well. Definitely a good challenge
Reading Writers of Color 2021
My first Octavia Butler and it was good. Butler voices her surprise in the afterword, that readers see this as a story of slavery. But are we looking at symbiosis or at a parasitic relationship? Is it really consent in a situation, where your personal rights have been curtailed and there are no equal rights? I think not. Interesting. And worth reading.
I also enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Michelle Obama. I watched a short documentary with her about the Becoming booktour as well. Obviously she has a lot of important things to say about empowerment, education, equal rights—you name it—, but my primary interest really was to get to know her a little better and look behind the facade. Reading about the banana yellow car of her husband, for example. Or about going to couple‘s counseling. And I enjoyed the ride quite a bit, up until the part where she and her husband embarked on their presidential campaign.
February: The Story of Human Language — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
It was interesting, even with some bits in between that dragged a bit. The accompanying pdf was open most of the time, while I listened to the lectures. Good enough to consider further offerings by The Great Courses.
March: David Mogo, Godhunter — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
One of the 5-star reads of 2021. Let‘s call it Godpunk. Gods have rained down on Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. We enter the story some time later, into the dystopian society that has developed here in the aftermath. David Mogo, our 1st person narrator, is a demi-god working as an illegal godhunter. This is really 3 novellas stuck together. I learned a lot about Nigeria and Lagos, looking up something or other frequently.
My second visit with Octavia E. Butler. I liked Bloodchild, but Dawn didn‘t work for me. Struggling with consent issues again. The book hasn‘t aged well. The plot felt too simplistic, there was no real suspense, no great twists or massive surprises.
Elatsoe came recommended by a friend. Yes, it‘s Young Adult, not my favourite genre. But it looked interesting. Author and female main character are Lipan Apache. And while I didn‘t bite my nails, the story was not bad and the writing was good. Essentially it‘s UF/magical realism, set in our place and time, with ghosts, vampires and fae added to the mix. My favourite gadget: instant teleportation via fae ring.
June: A Dead Djinn in Cairo — The Haunting of Tram Car 015 — A Master of Djinn — The Murders of Molly Southbourne — Farmhand, Vol. 1: Reap What Was Sown — Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
The month of by P. Djèlí Clark. Great stuff. Egypt, Cairo, Djinns, ghuls, sorcerers, magic, airships, gas light, aerial trams… steampunk plus electricity. A fun universe.
Molly Southbourne was weird, disturbing, creepy. Slightly disgusting in parts. It was like a train wreck—pretty horrible, but I couldn‘t look away. The writing is very good though. I was totally immersed in the story, the characters and Molly‘s world.
Both comics were good, if not Earth shattering..
July: Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
Reading this anthology took a while. It is a very strong anthology. Even the stories that didn‘t fully grab me gave me plenty to think about. Recommended!
August: Rosewater — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
My second Tade Thompson of the year. An alien lands on Earth, burrows into the ground and presents as a illuminated dome. A shanty town develops around it. Eventually there is a opening through which something escapes and heals people. A city called Rosewater springs up around the alien dome, benefitting from these regular healings. We follow Kaaro, a „sensitive“, in the employ of some shady secret agency. I can appreciate the inventive world building, but the rest was a slog. The whole thing felt pretty pointless to me and I actively disliked Kaaro.
October: Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen – non-fiction — https://lonelycryptidmedia.com/2021/0…
Alice Hasters is a German journalist, writing about institutionalized racism in Germany, drawing from her own experiences growing up in Cologne. I don‘t think this book has been translated into English. The title would be: What white people don’t want to hear about racism (but should know). I liked the book. Hasters writes well, narrates well, gives good examples and presents her arguments objectively. The book doesn‘t delve deeply into the topic and is surprisingly non-critical. Quiet a short piece, a bit on the shallow side. A good starting point.
Sorry for not linking it all properly, I felt a bit lazy… Anyway, good challenge, I enjoyed taking part and had fun researching books for the various prompts. I found a few authors that I plan to pick up again.
Did you take part in any entertaining challenges this year? Which challenges are you planning to takle next year?